‘Thunder Kid’ Adiwang impresses with second-round KO of Japanese foe

Published January 22, 2021, 9:27 PM

by Carlo Anolin

Photo from ONE Championship

“The Thunder Kid” is back.

Lito Adiwang of Team Lakay returned in the Circle with a strong resolve after finishing Japanese newcomer Namiki Kawahara in the second round of their strawweight bout in ONE: Unbreakable at the Singapore Indoor Stadium Friday night.

Adiwang unloaded a thunderous left hook that sent Kawahara to the canvas, prompting referee Olivier Coste to stop the match at the 2:02 mark.

The 27-year-old Adiwang turned emotional during the post-match interview, dedicating his victory — the first for 2021 — to his family and late mother Leticia, who passed away last month.

“It’s been tough for me,” said Adiwang. “I’m very emotional coming into this fight. I know I got a lot of challenges leading into this fight but man, to God be the glory. I tested myself here. Honestly, this is the toughest fight camp I faced.

“We’ve been through a lot. To my family, this is for you. This is [for] you, Mama.”

The Team Lakay stalwart gained momentum from the first round, targetting Kawahara’s legs and body multiple times before advancing aggressively in the second frame en route to the knockout punch.

The former No. 5 strawweight contender indeed showed the “technical approach” he was referring to, closing in from Kawahara’s safe distance with powerful strikes.

Adiwang improved to a 12-3 record while Kawahara slid to a 6-4-2 win-loss-draw slate with a spoiled ONE Championship debut.